Jul
2014

Photography in posts

 Photography in Posts

 

A gate in village St Cirq Lapopie

A gate in village
St Cirq Lapopie

Theres’ no doubt about it, a few nice photos in a blog sets the scene.

But How much do pictures  make the blog?  How much of a photographer do I need to be? Everybody these days is a photographer, and after a conversation in my half hour lunch break with a work colleague,I failed to convey any real sense about why I continue to use film instead of digital. Still ,even after getting my film developed I have to decide on maybe 3- 5 pictures to publish in any given blog. I am going to work on updating my Gallery and so anyone that wants to look at  pictures can look in there. Photography is now a big part of my blog, I feel when I go on a proper walk I need to take some pictures.

As always summer in Brixton is a joy to behold !!!  Sitting at my desk trying to be productive on my Day’s  annual leave; the sound of SIRENS going past the window every five minutes, cars zooming down the road at top speed, people shouting into their mobile phones or just shouting generally, to themselves or someone else, is my background soundtrack.

I’m still not 100% sure whether I really want to do the 14 mile walk Rye to Hastings. But I’m getting claustrophophic..Neighbours to either side of me, (party last night,) possibly another one tonight!. I think I’m going to have to go on the walk.

There I have talked myself into it again…. I may come back bedraggled with sunstroke but I will give it a go.

My last trip to France was a bit fraught what with the train and taxi strike , getting to Cahors from London left me slightly frazzled, ditto coming back, and to top it all the temperature was peaking around 34 celsius on some days. Not my ideal weather by any means. I did not do a lot of walking, far too hot, but there are dedicated walkers  passing through the village of Montcuq every day as part of a pilgrimage they do. It’s a famous walk they do and one year I may even do it. Who knows?

This picture is of a clock in the centre of Cahor. It was an exceedingly hot day and we stopped off here to have a coffee and listen to a soundcheck for a band performing that evening , so it was hot and loud. clock in Cahors

This cobblers had a unique window display of miniature shoes, a picture I did not take, and this is where my question about photography is now really coming into play.cobblers in Cahors

Having a film restricts the amount of photos you can take, the time, & cost of film development.I like the process admittedly, as I don’t know exactly what I’m going to get, but I’m going to try an old digital camera that has been given to me and see how I get on with that. I have used digital before and can’t say I got totally into it and the camera conked out pretty quickly..

 

name of river?

The river lot runs through Cahor and onward down towards an area we visited for a picnic by the river and  to visit a historic village called Saint-Cirq-Lapopie. A photograph is the equivalent to a thousand words. How could you describe everything you have seen on every walk you have gone to? A collection of photos with a few snippets is probably sufficient. Depending whether I have anything significant to say about an area or life in general, a blog can really only say so much.

Before visiting France I spent a nice weekend in Newcastle and the coast and the weather was perfect. June has to be my favourite month.

perfect day in june tynemouth

A perfect day in Tynemouth this photo could be anywhere but it was truly lovely, very relaxing.

port of Tyne june 2014

One of my very favourite sights has to be the bridges over the Tyne, this was taking from the riverside having pub lunch on a Sunday in June.

tyne at nightThe night before walking back from The Cluney having seen The Rezillos this was taken with a camera phone , It was a beautiful evening , there was hardly anyone around as well which was strange, the revellers for some reason don’t make it down to the river!! they stay in town.

 

My last walk with the group was the 12th of July, it was warm, but not a clear day. The walk was a circular walk from Dover, we could not see France as it was not clear enough.

A gateway to the Sea at Dover

A gateway to the Sea at Dover

 

White cliffs of Dover

White cliffs of Dover

Wild flowers on cliff top Dover

Wild flowers on cliff top
Dover

Last but not least… I did not expect to see these on my walk……

Very curious creatures, they ran towards us as they were extremly curious

Very curious creatures, they ran towards us as they were extremely curious

Yes walking can be interesting at times, you have to keep on going and you never know what you might come across.

 

Until next time

Best Wishes

Julie

 

Apr
2014

Which way is south?

Two out- of- Towners

 (Map not included!) with a print out of a walk in the country

Having joined the ramblers group a few years ago I’m getting the hang of a few things: Being punctual , thinking ahead, booking trains in advance, wearing the right clothes for the right weather, and of course just doing it,when I might not feel like it. I know that an 8 mile walk is roughly about 4 hours long and that is probably long enough for a saturday, bearing in mind  ,walking to the train station walking about afterwards ,back tracking , after taking wrong turns..all   clocks it up to about 10 miles.

The mole and I in a joint venture decided the weather was good enough for a walk.

I had cut the Walk instructions out of the Magazine sent quarterly from the Ramblers Association.I have only followed a guide once, so wanted to try another,this walk from Lewis to  Saltdean, not  so straightforward as most of it was in fields.

Uhh. which way is South?

 

We found the path eventually , after walking East to a hedge with a stye !

We found the path eventually , after walking East to a hedge….

 

It was turn left here, turn right then left at a hedge then over a stile 30 metres from a fence   facing West,etc…then bear south!

 

HOLY COW IN SOUTH DOWNS with two new borns..

HOLY COW IN SOUTH DOWNS with two new borns..

 

Maybe we should have had a map. but I’m not retired yet and a long way from spending all day reading maps and preparing everything.It was enough to renew my South-East Rail Network card (30% off £30.00 for the year) and get going on Saturday morning after a strenuous stressful week.

Some people like to google everything I prefer to leave it to trial and error and learn the hard way!  Having  recently just ambled along following the leader in the Cotswolds, I was now in charge of my destiny again, well my companion The Mole, as well,who did not take to kindly to the vague directions! I can tell you.

Not much in the village of Iford  apart from a farm and a few houses.I had thought there may perhaps a cafe ! Or a pub for a break. Not so, and further I was anticipating some kind of vineyard or Spanish Cafe towards the end of the walk.!

Now what was that written in  the walk description?

“Ramblers Routes 09

“The plush free eastern face of the Downs  a vineyard and hidden valleys, finishing up with a glass of Rioja and some tapas at the nearest Costa to Lewes”

Not quite sure what that was about.! Still it was 28th of March and we were glad of some fresh air and light.

Moving up- dusty path upwards

Moving up- dusty path upwards

A lot of cows ,a lot of sheep and a lot of grass.  At the top of a hill we cross the South Downs Way carrying on with slight ascents and descents and endless seclusion, we pass Breaky bottom Vineyard , but no sign of any cafe/wine tasting sessions that we could see. It got a bit confusing again after this as there wasn’t clear directions as to how to get to the coastal town of Saltdean, but as we head down we can see what looks like Seaford area looking left.We walked and walked until we got down to a football pitch and then came out to a road with some holiday homes. We headed to the main road and jumped on a bus to Brighton.

 

looking back towards Ilford a lot of fields a lot of sheep

looking back towards Ilford a lot of fields a lot of sheep

 

Just as a footnote I would like to mention that I led a group from Brixton to Chelsea on Sunday , it was a nice little group of about 11 and some of them had found out about the walk from a meet up group.I wasn’t aware that my South Bank Group advertised on there ,so it was a nice surprise, the walk was fairly brisk and took us about 2 hours.Until next time

I’m looking for some new walks.

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Mar
2014

Stow on the Wold

This gallery contains 12 photos.

 Stow On the Wold Cotswolds  My recent & first ever weekend away with The south Bank rambler group    We took a train from Paddington heading towards Stow on the Wold .It’s not far from Oxford so under 2 hours  to get to Morton on Marsh where we caught a 10 min bus ride to Stow […]

Feb
2014

Westgate to Margate revisited February 8th 2014

Westgate to Margate linear walk

 

Approx. 6 miles round walk

Done this many times now, it’s as familiar as a stroll in the park. I still enjoy the Westgate to Margate stroll, as always it is invigorating. Saturday proved to be an ever-changing day. The Sea looked grungy brown but calm & the wind almost blew us to Margate.  Then came the hailstones, the sand was rising from the surface  blowing towards Margate like a desert storm; as suddenly as the hail storms appeared,they then disappeared and blue skies appeared lighting up the Turner Gallery on the horizon.

MARGATE BEACH FEBRUARY

MARGATE BEACH FEBRUARY

 

Always great to see The Contemporary Turner Galleryhttps://www.turnercontemporary.org/ if only to take a break from the wind! There is always something on in there, and the views are great; Like the Tate in St Ives, a modern building, situated on the sea front designed to fit in with the landscape. A great chip shop nearby supplied a generous portion of chips . I shared my remains with the Seagulls; then walked down to the harbour, and visited the micro pub .

The Harbour Arms.

TURNER GALLERY THEN HARBOUR..

TURNER GALLERY THEN HARBOUR..

 

Micro pub is defined by it being independent of breweries serving local beers and ciders. It is very tiny too and felt a bit like being on a stage set, it is not a pub as such but an old harbour office made into a small space with a bar and a few tables… There were about 14 people huddled in there if you added another ten it would have been jam-packed! The prices are good too. I had half a raspberry cider and The Mole had a half local beer at! £3 a pint; nice!

RASPBERRY CIDER LOCAL ALE £3.00 A PINT

RASPBERRY CIDER LOCAL ALE £3.00 A PINT

 

Margate moving on?

I can’t help but feel the naughty weekend caption isn’t going to be the crowd puller they are aiming at, I seem to recall Mary Portas did a bit of a campaign to brighten the shopping area which is smart in parts. There are some great shops and cafes the Mole and I, plan to spend a night or two on the coast around Margate at some point this summer, dirty or otherwise.!

Walking back I see the works are still in progress along the seafront, the old  Royal Sea Bathing Hospital was a pioneer hospital in the use of open-air treatment for patients suffering from tubercular complaints. It was founded in 1791 for the poor of London by Dr John Coakley Lettsom, a Quaker physician. It is now being redeveloped into plush apartments.

Resorts such as Margate had modesty hoods which were canvas awnings attached to bathing machines. These could be let down to allow a woman to enter and leave the water in privacy. If desired, the woman could also be dipped in privacy under the shelter of the hoodsalted sea water and be helped with cures for TB

I  say it’s a stroll in the park, but it clocks up about 6 miles all in all.

Walking back to Westgate from Margate always seems longer than walking to Margate,especially with the wind in our face as we were  attacked by another batch of hail stones…

We had planned to have another swift half in the micro pub in Westgate but they closed from about 2.30-5pm, so missed out on that. Mole drove back  to London in true mole style, with  the low winter sun blinding his eyes, cursing and swearing up the motorway. The rain/sun/hail/rain/sun weather got the better of us and a return home to London for a night in front of the box was welcome.

Well  there is a lot of misery in many parts of the country due to excessive rain. I”m hoping it will calm down soon, as a short w/end in Devon is on cards & got a couple of walks with the South Bank Group penciled in for February and a W/end of it in March.

 

All for now

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

Jan
2014

Arm Chair Traveller

The Arm Chair Traveller

I saw a wide selection of books about walking when I was in Waterstones Picadilly. One for my list is Ramble on The story or our love for walking Britain by Sinclair Mcay; another  possible read about walking is Will Self’s Walking to Hollywood.

 

I”m in the depths of Donna Tart’s novel  The Goldfinch (not walking related)which may take some time to finish, but I am enjoying it so I will finish it first before starting anything new.Inside the cover it has a beautiful cutting printed and pasted, it is a picture of a GoldFinch and sitting on a little bird table and has a very delicate gold chain tied around it’s ankle.

Donna tarts young character who has somehow acquired this original painting says of it.

 

When I looked at the painting,I felt the same convergence on a single point: a flickering sun-struck instant that existed now and forever. Only occasionally did I notice the chain on the finch’s ankle, or think what a cruel life for a little living creature- fluttering briefly, forced always to land in the same hopeless place”

It kills me that quote and I have to hope that the finch was only chained for the purpose of the painting and was then freed.!

Donna Tartt

Cover for The Goldfinch

“The Goldfinch” painting drawing big crowds since Donna Tartt book release

 

Lets all try and spread our wings in 2014 and not be chained to convention.

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading

Nov
2013

Wild

The Wild years

I haven’t been on any significant walks lately but have been walking a lot.

I have got a load of pictures that I am currently sorting out in I photo and will be posting a lot on the 365 project.

I mentioned in the previous blog that I was reading  the story of Cheryl Strayed. In her book Wild she describes herself  asThe woman with the hole in her heart”  A 1100 mile journey on foot from Mexico Border to the Canadian Border alongside California known as the Pacific Crest Trail .

I will be doing a lot of non wild walking next month when I start walking around Victoria and Belgravia, knocking at the doors of the rich & famous, collecting data for the Electoral Register of Westminster Council. I’m also working on a piece of writing for The Ramblers Organisation which should feature as a guest blog on their site.

AFTER THE RAIN comes the sun.

SUN COMING THROUGH CLOUD

 

A different type of Wild

I feel like my wild years are behind me now but there is still something of the rebel in me that wants to steer off into the wilderness. My wild years were pretty much from about aged 16  -29, (although I think once a rebel always a rebel) running to London where I was obsessed with music and lived in people’s spare rooms/working and living in hotels as a Chamber Maid and Waitress then ‘progressing’ to squats spending most of my time out at Gigs and playing the bass trying to get a band together.

There was an innocence to it all and I remember giving up a  job in the library to go to New York for a month in the hope that I would find a new life over there.

When there I advertised my plane ticket for sale in the hope of having enough money to go to L.A but it was not to be.   I took a volunteer job in New Jersey in a campsite for abused children ran by what I considered at the time to be Religious Weirdos.

I just found the whole thing scary, it was not really something that I was anywhere near prepared to deal with. I had to get out of there and go back to NYC .

I met loads of people and had a great time it had such a powerful feeling of impermanence about it.The only thing to do was to keep on moving. When back at my London squat I put an ad in The Melody Maker (no longer in print)& formed a band which lasted all of 3 months then I decided to do a degree as a mature student. Another story altogether.

The thing is though, even now when I read Cheryl Strayed’s story I can’t help feeling envious of her out in the Wild . I wouldn’t want to live my wild days again. (as if!!)  But-it seems to me that I am running to stand still these days. I’ve been working 10 years in the same job and am no better off as the cost of living has gone up so much but the pay hasn’t. It’s difficult to know what course of action to take. What sort of changes to make.

Some people may think I should be grateful to have a job (I am) but somewhere a long the line I like to think there will be some adventures again.

Well that’s about it from me . Happy October, and keep on walking.

Had a good 5 mile walk today from Brixton to Chelsea.

I may well lead some London walks next year, lets see how it goes. Will keep you posted.

 

Next episode coming soon.

Oct
2013

People you can’t live with them you can’t live without them

PeopleYou can’t live with them you can’t live without them.

Take a walk on the wild side

 

Carrying on with the review of Cherly Strayed the author of Wild, I like to  share some of her trials and errors while hiking and walking the PCT trail.

You either pay or you leave.

Whilst hitching a lift on a slight detour from The PCT route a campsite  exists, she reckons a free nights camping is on the cards, before getting back on track. It is dark late at night, & she hasn’t any money her much longed for  parcel hadn’t arrived at the last drop off post.

At times like this you can only hope for human kindness. Unfortunately she comes across a mean couple who were monitoring the grounds  and wouldn’t let her have a free pitch up for the  night – despite it being a virtually empty campsite.

Now this would not have made one ounce of difference to them, would it? if a woman alone is hiking you would think they would have at least  some comprehension of her plight.  They could have made some sort of deal, – you know, wash the dishes! . send us a cheque later on etc etc. There you go, even in these type of places you get Mr and Mrs Jobsworth, where a rule is a rule is a rule mam, and don’t you forget it.

Continue reading

Apr
2013

Learning to lead & the Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

 

Sticking To The Plan

There’s a lot to be said for sticking to a plan, but then again, it can be a total pain and I prefer an open-minded approach to life. I recently did the leaders walk in the freezing snow. Personally a 8 mile walk in the freezing cold is not my idea of fun, and I don’t hold the No pain no gain attitude. But in this case I felt like I had to stick to the plan, because if I didn’t I would have missed the chance to get together with the group and learn something.I met up with the South Bank Walkers Group on a Sunday morning and we discussed the roles of being a Walk Leader and Map reader. It was interesting and I have put my name forward to do my first walk later in the year. The next newsletter comes out in July so I will be in the July to October issue and I’m going to lead the Seven Sisters Walk. For this walk you need reasonably good weather. I haven’t decided the date yet, but his year at some point!  Now that Spring seems to be here I can get out on some decent walks and will be out next  Saturday and be writing about that next Sunday.

In the meantime, I am enclosing a very short book review, a novel about someone who went on a very long walk.!

 

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry Written by Rachel Joyce published by Black Swan 

A tale of a walk of 627 miles in 87 days from Kingsbury to Berwick

book cover Harold Fry

I would describe it as an old-fashioned English story; quaint, sweet, innocent & sad.In short the main character the elderly retired Harold is living an intolerable existence, his wife barely speaks or looks at him, they live separate lives both thwarted by the experience of their son’s suicide. The story takes off really when Harold gets a letter from someone called Queenie to tell him she remembered his kindness and wanted to thank him and that she was dying.

He wants to do the right thing but isn’t sure what it is.  Initially he is going to post a letter to her but just can’t face it and feels, in the light of someone dying a letter was nowhere near adequate.He starts walking to a letter box not wanting to post it after meandering past 3 or 4 post-boxes he gets the idea to keep walking and personally visit Queenie, starting in Devon where he lives, to Berwick where she is dying in a hospice. We are not too sure who this character Queenie is at this point.

A lot of the background isn’t revealed until midway in the walk, when Harold is extremely undernourished and ill prepared for the distance walking the 600 miles from Devon to Berwick.The story of how his life became so unbearable becomes clear as the walk evolves.He meets waifs and strays along the way, and even becoming a minor celebratory with many people jumping on the bandwagon with their own reasons for being out there!

There are pleasurable aspects and a newfound joy to be discovered in the simplicity of walking, and living outdoors under an English sky and countryside, that still holds many beauties, something he had forgotten to take time to appreciate.He encounters both a painful recollection of what it is he is escaping and the joy of not knowing where he is going, the unknown future he is moving towards.

It unravels during his walk that Harold’s father was an abusive alcoholic and his wife blamed Harold’s past for the demise of their son, who had turned into a layabout, drunk and a drug addict before hanging himself.

The relationship with Queenie is one of two alienated souls who manage to find solace in each other while working in the Brewery. As Harold is of a time, so is Queenie, an unassuming secretary without the usual attire and personality associated with a secretary, she is humble and conscientious which does her no favours under the rule of the chauvinistic factory owner who try’s it on with her and intimidates her constantly in front of the rest of the staff.

Harold offers some support to Queenie in terms of old fashioned friendship with no strings attached. In turn she takes the blame when Harold goes off the rails when he as he had reacted violently and wrecked the bosses office, whilst still in shock and grief hearing of the death of his son.

The end of the road offers Harold reconciliation with his wife after bearing his soul having witnessed the demise of Queenie who had simply wanted to say thanks; she could no longer actually speak as her tongue had been cut out in an operation relating to her brain tumour. It was a moving end to the story and really the end had to reconcile him and his wife, additionally it is moving to read about the encounters with hangers-on he meets on the road and the different types of people, each with their own stories and grievances slightly lost in need of an awakening, they follow Harold and also contribute to his own healing.

JULIE C©

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ÓJulie Connelly

 

 

Feb
2013

Westgate to Margate

This gallery contains 3 photos.

A nice little walk                              Getting to the Kent coast from London can be a bit of a drag and we were held up on the M25 due to a car that had set alight on  the road coming into London. This caused […]

Jan
2013

January , Anybody got the blues?

Anybody got the blues?

Me too.. Not had a walk in a while, in fact since NOVEMBER. I mean a proper walk somewhere nice. I did walk to work and back for a week, when I thought I had a slow puncture  & I couldn’t be bothered to sort it out.

Getting out into the wilderness? Who me? Not I.

A scheduled a walk  Sunday the 27th of January has beenwritten off due to snow all last week.

Although the snow has gone  it is still freezing cold, but at least the sky is clearing and the sun came out yesterday in London.

Phoenix Cinema

Instead, I went to the Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley to see a ballet broadcast live from Moscow, not normally something I would do, and I enjoyed it much more than I could have imagined, it was in three parts  with  decent 25 minute intervals .The sets costumes and coordination were beautiful, it was truly sublime. It has been years since I have seen anything so beautiful,.

INTERIOR OF BOSHOI BALLET

INTERIOR OF BOSHOI BALLET

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A scene from the ballet La Bayadere. Stunning costumes and sublime coordination.

A scene from the ballet La Bayadere. Stunning costumes and sublime coordination.

 

 

 

Travelling back on the rail replacement service to Kings Cross wasn’t too bad after an afternoon at the cinema; the full moon was shining and I had forgotten how high up it was around HIGHGATE!.

I really must get out more.

Been down in the valley of Brixton far too long, and doing the cycle from Brixton to Camberwell South East London (work) way too long.

Walking through St Pancras International just made me want to get away more , I longed to jump on the Euro Star and drift away.

 

So I guess it’s time to start really digging out some routes to walk, and planning ahead. January is always the longest hardest month of all. Everybody (or a lot of people) are off sick from work and there seems to be more and  more to do.

Trudging around in the snow to get to work is a drag and those that travel on trains  have to endure an extremely bad journey, if there is a train at all.!  The Railways in the South England, seem incapable of delivering a service when we get a bit of snow, it just adds stress to the whole month.

I’m personally ready to say goodbye to January and start looking forward to February and planning some days and weekends away.

 

Until then Happy readers

Adios &  farewell.

©julie